I have a son and a daughter. They mean the world to me and, of course, I want what’s best for them in love and life. I didn’t grow up seeing what a healthy, loving relationship looks like, so it is important for me to show them that example through the relationship I have with my husband.

As a mother, I always try to focus on their education, the importance of faith, and life lessons I believe they will carry with them long after they leave my home. And although most of the lessons I teach are applicable regardless of gender, there are a few lessons I hope I can specifically teach my son.

It’s not that these lessons don’t apply to my daughter because they do, but I believe there is something unique about the relationship between a mother and son. As a woman, there are things I want to share with him about how he should interact in intimate relationships with the women in his life.

The truth is, I don’t know what my son’s future will look like. Maybe he will get married, or maybe he’ll decide not to. But whatever his life looks like, I hope he keeps these lessons in mind as he navigates love and life.

Here are 10 things I think every mom should teach her son about relationships.

Never say “I love you” unless you mean it.

The phrase “I love you,” is thrown around far more than it should be. There are definitely consequences that come with professing your love for someone if you don’t mean it. I want my son to know that even when he has strong feelings for someone if he is unclear about whether or not it’s love, he shouldn’t say a thing. Chaos and broken hearts are always the results of claiming to love someone when you don’t.

Always be yourself.

Our sons should feel free to be who they want to be in life. They shouldn’t have to spend extra money, lie, or dress a certain way just to attract a particular woman. I believe if my son feels confident about who he is, the right woman will see that and appreciate him for his authenticity.

Don’t buy anyone’s love.

If my son sees a gold-digger, I hope he has the good sense to run the other way. Sure, it’s okay to spend money on nice dinners or gifts for a woman you have feelings for, but there has to be a limit. He shouldn’t spend what he doesn’t have, and he shouldn’t feel like she will walk away if he stops spending.

Never compete with someone else for her affection.

Every mother probably believes that her son is going to grow up to be such an incredible man that any woman who doesn’t see that can kick rocks. That’s how I feel about my boy. We should warn our boys against getting caught up in any kind of love triangle. It’s rarely ever worth the drama associated with it.

If you don’t love her, let her go.

Simple enough, right? I have seen too many men in my life string women along—sometimes for years. We should all teach our sons that doing so is selfish and damaging. After a while, staying with someone you don’t see a future with just isn’t the right thing to do.

Don’t act like her dad.

Men shouldn’t treat a love interest like a child because she’s not. Even if a woman grew up without a dad, she shouldn’t want or expect her husband to act like one. It’s not healthy.

Show her appreciation.

Show me a happy woman and I will show you a woman who feels appreciated. I think this one piece of advice will help my son avoid a lot of potential conflict with the woman he chooses to be with.

Always treat her with respect.

This is never negotiable. If a man can’t respect a woman, he shouldn’t be with her. It’s just that simple. You don’t always have to agree with your lady, but you need to respect her.

If you are intimate with her, be prepared to father her child.

Yep. It’s just that simple. If you are mature enough to have sex, and you believe this woman is worth it, just remember that there is always a chance she will get pregnant. Always. If the thought of having a child with her makes you cringe, keep your friend in your pants.

Never raise your hand to a woman. Ever.

There is never a reason for this. I don’t care what the woman says or does, the man has to walk away. We have to tell our son’s that they have to exit a situation before it ever escalates to physical violence. And even if a woman hits him, he needs to find the nearest door and leave.